Australian shares staged a dramatic comeback on Friday (March 13), after their counterparts in Europe and Wall Street collapsed in overnight trade. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed 4.42% higher at 5,539.30 over a whipsaw session that saw it trade down around 7.5 per cent in the morning.
The broader All Ordinaries index climbed 219.80 points, or 4.09%, to 5,590.70. The catalyst for the dramatic surge on the ASX that added $70bn in a 13.7% swing – its largest on record- is still unclear.
CSL was the strongest performer, surging 11.9% to $313.83, while The big four banks jumped 2-5%, with Commonwealth Bank leading the surge, climbing 5.2% to 66.36. Independent investment bank and financial services company Macquarie Group soared 4.2% after it withdrew a capital notes offer due to the highly volatile market.
In the mining space, BHP and Rio Tinto gained 1.5 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group surged as much as 13 percent. Oil and gas heavyweight Woodside Petroleum soared nearly 10%, Santos climbed 6.8 percent, Origin Energy rallied over 7 percent and Oil Search advanced 17.2 percent.
Virgin Australia Holdings skyrocketed more than 31% despite suspending its full-year earnings outlook. Wesfarmers moved up 8% to $37.85, Woolworths rose 6.7% to $37.05 and Telstra gained 6.4% cent to $3.32. Cochlear shot 21.1% higher to $216.11, Netwealth surged 18.7 %to $6.49 and Viva Energy firmed 17.3 per cent to $1.56.
There were still some wild swings down however. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield plummeted 14.1% to $6.39. Australia's national air carrier Qantas collapsed 12.6% to $3.18 while Collins Food Group sank 9.2% to $5.96.
Will this show-stopping turnaround last? Australia's benchmark index remains in bear market territory — more than 20% off its 52-week closing high — which it fell into on Wednesday. Australia's total market has lost $608 billion in value in the days between 20 February and 12 March and the country's top 200 companies have lost 30% in value since the peak on February 20.